Johna met up with them again after a small discussion.
“What a show…” he thought.
Somehow the lead wizard being defeated excited him even more now. There was so much potential to the arrival of strangers.
He had to go back to the task at hand, not bask in the glory of the wizard’s defeat. He gathered together magical gems given to him by the council and safely tucked the jewel into his undershirt.
A small distance from him he spotted the group sitting in the lobby.
“Well…” he said catching up with them, “I’ll be your assigned guardian. I’m the strongest non-council wizard they’ve got to part with…and they trust my abilities,” he spoke brimming with confidence.
“What about the jewel?”
Jhona pulled out the jewel and then tucked it back in.
Narice looked at Johna studiously, a kind face, howbeit something untrusting laid there.
“Why were they willing to part with you?” Narice spoke. He felt that there was another reason they’d sent him.
Johna smiled, “Why Narice, you’re quite perceptive, and I’m glad you asked. I don’t want to hide it from you… They’re using me to keep tabs on you, since some of them work for ‘Ka’atra’.”
The three took ready stances, unsure of Johna’s next play.
“Don’t worry,” he smiled yet again, “I wouldn’t tell them anything important, only things that would be of no interest…”
Narice looked at him, for some reason, he trusted him in what he said, despite feeling that he wouldn’t be able to open up completely.
“And why would you go so far to betray your own kind?” Nick responded.
“It’s not a matter of betrayal…” Jhona looked confused, “Obviously, they aren’t worth of my strength… while you all are.”
This idea was a new concept for Narice. However, looking at Jhona’s face, he felt that he could trust what he said to be true. And it didn’t seem all bad- at least they made good on their word to give them the ‘jewel’ in one form or another. And by Johna telling them this now, meant they’d be one step ahead of anything they planned against them.
It seemed Johna genuinely wanted to be their support as he tried to upsell himself, “a wizard with a jewel isn’t simply limited to wind magic…” Holding onto the jewel, the entire surrounding buildings and people began to shake, he then put everything back in place with a second spell from what had tipped over. The wizards surrounding them looked downward after glancing at the group as Johna bellowed out a hearty laugh.
Romani was actually amused. Nick was curious.
“They’re all afraid of me,” Jhona spoke, “I duel quite often…”
“Well, I guess strategically speaking, we really could use your powers to stop Ka’atra,” Romani conceded.
The group was silent for a moment.
“Where to now?” Narice looked ahead at the city unsure about if they could make use of anything here before heading out.
It seemed Jhona was ready with an answer however.
“I live in the upper portion of the city,” Johna replied pointing somewhere in the center which stood above the rest of the city, “We can stay there for the night.”
Perhaps as a way of changing the topic, “but first, let me show you the best place for a meal.”
Narice thought it abrupt, but Johna seemed light about it.
“Well now, if it isn’t Johna,” the wizard spoke at the restaurant bar.
“How are you Poppy?” he returned.
Narice looked around. It seemed wizards were a merry sort for the most part, carefree, however, an abrupt crash got his attention.
“She’s mine,” a young aristocratic looking wizard seemed to be in an upheaval with a more relaxed, semi-drunken wizard.
“Why don’t you just take a break?” he said tapping an open seat beside him.
“I challenge you!” the young man spoke, holding out his wand.
“And if you lose?” the drunken wizard curiously posed.
“Whoever wins this has the rights to the girl…”
“Fine, fine,” the drunken wizard haphazardly got up.
A member from the crowd started the count:
The crowd chimed in. “2!”
Both wands were readied, “1”
The young man cast a sort of binding to his legs coming from the ground.
However, the drunken wizard simply knocked it away with his own wand.
The young wizard threw out a bunch of fireball looking spells, which the drunken wizard unaware seemed to dodge every one accidentally. The young man then threw out a more deadly spell- to which the drunken wizard got more serious bashing it away skillfully, casting a spell which circled the young man. The man seemed to break through it with sheer willpower taking the stings, however as things were about to heat up even more, a lady in high heels who seemed get in the middle of it with a quick kick to the young man’s chest which knocked him to the floor and a knockback spell which threw the drunk wizard back into a table and then the wall.”
“I think I’ll choose my own suitors, thank you very much.” She upturned her nose.
Poppy raised up his hand, “Victor, Shelly!”
A round of applause came from the crowd as bellows of laughter came from the crowd.
“What a woman!” the drunk one said slowly getting up and then offered the young man a hand, “Here, let me get you a drink.”
The young man took it with a nod and watched on as the woman then got picked up by someone else entirely.
Narice and the group turned back to their own meal. It was the best dive they’d been to in a while. Johna got a spell-call and said he’d be back in a minute, heading out.
By the time they were done, it was already pretty late. Johna caught back up with the group, and after paying the tab to Poppy, motioned to the group, “alright.”
After that, they headed via a sky turtle transport to the upper portion of the city- reaching their destination.
In front of them, a moderately sized building stood in its grandeur amidst the cloudy layout.
“Well, this is it,” He held his hand to the door. A series of spell unlocked the door and it opened up.
“Make yourselves comfortable,” Johna spoke. Inside of the house it was moderately spacious for the four of them, and especially for Johna if he lived alone. In fact, a cat-like creature came up to them, meowing. He started petting it.
“So, are you alone here?” Nick asked.
“Yeah,” Johna responded, “my parents are slaves to a high wizard because they were foolish to try and challenge for rights from the council.”
He was quite matter-o-fact about it… as if it were just another thing that happened around here.
Narice looked at the other two.
“-but for now, I respect it until I can be strong enough to change it.”
“Uh, sorry for the small housing.”
The group entered into the door to happenstance upon the living room. It was a quaint, basic layout. It seemed there was a staircase leading above them to another portion of the house.
Overall it well fitted for the four to have a small weekend excursion.
It was sort of a cabin feel. Sprawled about the main living room, the three took different parts between the couches and the floor.
“Where is your family now?”
Inside of the moderately large home Narice and the gang had sprawled out, munching on whatever snacks remained in the house, and were now listening to Johna explain about his background.
“It’s not great,” Johna replied, “My parents lost their rights when I was a young kid and now serve another wizard- I was given up for adoption.”
Despite the shock that emanated from the group about the situation that held him, Johna was seemingly detached about the whole ordeal. Maybe it was a past he’d grown accustomed to over time.
Narice respected Johna a bit more seeing that he’d had to get by on his own, and even try to win his parents’ freedom.
It made him relate to think about someone who had to fight against the powers that be and gain their place in the world.
They stayed up playing some sort of magic game that Johna showed them involving magic creatures from a spell and having them fight, kind of similar to rock paper scissors, but on a more 3D scale.
Johna excused himself later at night on ‘a prior engagement’ telling them not to wait up. One by one, after enough talking and snacking, the group seemed to let themselves drift off while Johna was away.
Narice too, joined the group after the long day and closed his eyes.
A voice… an image appeared in the wake of his sleep.
Narice could sense that it was more than a dream as the girl appeared inside… the same girl from prior…
She told him gravely, “Don’t trust the wizards…”
“Alright!” Johna spoke in a joyful tone… waking up Narice and the rest of the group. Johna seemed reared to go, and it seemed he had a pack on him, “let’s head out!” while holding up an arm in a sort of victory
Surprisingly, Romani was the one least accustomed to an early schedule and still had to be shaken to a half-awake state.
It seemed that Johna had breakfast already prepared as they’d woken up to warm food. Narice had gotten used to waking up early out of routine, despite not necessarily being a morning person.
Nick, had always had the orphans and urchins to look after so had had to be ready to wake them up himself.
The aroma of a fresh warm beverage and sound of sizzling woke up Romani a bit later than the rest of the group.
After a nice time getting prepped with all their gear, Johna led them to the ‘trading district’.
“Commerce is big among the wizards…” Johna explained as they walked from the house across to the commercial district, “we’ll trade many things. Our currency is magic.”
Johna looked as the group showed worried looks amongst themselves.
“Don’t worry, I have these-” he held up a bag. ”
Looking inside showed a bunch of crystals.
“What lies inside is ‘pure magic’ given to me by the council for such a mission…” Johna was kind enough to explain the details of magic in a way they could understand. None of them were too experienced with its uses, “magic from different artifacts can be absorbed and takes on the form of these.”
Crystals… Narice wondered how much magic actually lied within a person. If one could go about causing infinite energy with their ‘magic’ such as the ‘Ancients’… then would that mean that crystals had little value- or was there different ways of measuring and trapping it?
Johna explained further.
“The crystals work like this… from elves and other creatures with magic tied to life force, it would be based on the elves’ initial magic power. In this regard it would be limited.
“However, magic that comes from ‘Ancients’ comes in the form of ‘jewels’…” Johna looked at Narice.
“Wouldn’t everyone want magic coming from ‘Ancients’?”
“If it were possible to extract- however, to extract an Ancient’s magic is nearly impossible.”
“Oh… then how was Ka’atra’s life force tied off?”
“The history is somewhat lost, however, only one with immense powers is capable of something like that- at the time- it was believe to be the Elven king, and he died to do so.”
They’d arrived at the shops. Johna was already busy scanning through the merchandise. He joyfully fiddled with the crystals in hand. It seemed he enjoyed having access to the currency. He seemed like he was the type interested in the trade system. He cautiously looking at different artifacts of one sort or another.
“We’ll definitely need this,” he picked up something, a glow emanating from a large round object, he was too busy to properly explain what it did until after. (It was a transporter spell- in a bind, useable to transport)
“Hmm…” he looked over a little shroud.
Narice watched as he picked up individual items for sale, eventually diminishing his stock of jewels. Afterwards he seemed only to have enough for a meal so instead he took them all out to eat instead.
“Hey! these are great…” he spoke, pointing to a stand of rat-tailed sky gators, a type of sky lizard, Narice was a bit skeptical, but dug in at Johna’s request.
A bit fluffy and chewy it was a lighter version similar to beef it seemed. He looked around the outdoor table they were all sitting at as the elf looked at the strange creature with a sadness being a vegetarian and Nick, who was used to more elegant foods hadn’t mustered the courage to to even try it.
It turned out that the other two went hungrier as Johna took their share of the food.
“Eh…” Narice said… “Nick and elf will have to eat…”
“Oh, I’ll get something for them at the house then,” Johna said.
They headed on back to the small unit that Johna resided.
“Ugh looks like I have to respond to this…” Johna said, as he got up, responding to some sort of magic circle that appeared on his person.
As Johna headed out for ‘errands’ again- Narice was a bit more skeptical-especially with the warning.
“Should we follow him?” Narice thought aloud.
“I don’t know…” Narice responded thoughtfully. He wasn’t sure about Johna’s reasons, in fact, he’d pretty much been forced upon them, not without reasons, but it seemed a little too convenient.
“…let’s just keep on guard for now, we’ll be careful about he does…”
He thought about the warning and wondered if it meant this guy. He didn’t know what to think about it now, so he’d just prepare himself.
Instead he decided to learn about the things they had picked up and decided to prepare a counter spell with the group in case anything happened.
Vega had a mission. To accomplish it, Vega was in search of an Ancient with a secret power.
From leaving the wizarding council (in an uproar none-the-less), Vega used a tracking spell. Scanning the residual signature from the location on bench, it led him to this home.
Narice looked out from the room expectantly. He wanted to depend on the Wizard…. but he’d already had a fair share of betrayals.
He wondered how long it would be until it happened. Narice and the other two decided to go.
The elf looked at him and Nick as he held up the necklace.
“This one is the fake…” he said. “You’ll be able to tell because of this thin blue line painted on the underside of it. “Like other jewel’s… for example, the one you came in contact with earlier that didn’t seem to work after time, it’s infused with some of the energy of the other, but will eventually wear down. We’ll switch in when he’s asleep if possible, that way he won’t be able to steal it…”
“Ok, good job Romani,” Narice replied solemnly. Tonight would be the last night- if the wizard stalled for another day- they’d end up leaving without him and switch the jewels on him.
Narice and the others went to sleep early as they prepared for the next step of the adventure.
The woods, with the harp of time.
“Okay guys,” the wizard spoke as he woke them up early. The house itself was spik and span, and it looked like he had everything packed for himself- gem around his neck.
Narice and the others brushed their eyes surprised. Was this what they expected? No. They’d expected to have to leave in an emergency.
Johna instead had his backpack ready and seemed to be expectant of the group to make a decision. It didn’t matter if this was unexpected. Narice thought about the mission- either way they’d have to go.
Narice looked at the others and with a nod agreed to act like this was the way they expected.
“So what’s the plan?” Johna spoke unnoticing of the silent affirmation.
They ate some breakfast as Narice talked the plan over with Johna.
Narice looked at the Finder. Five elements- earth, water, wind, fire, ice. In their collection were two of the five.
“Well, obviously,” Narice spoke. “The plan goes as such,” he took a bite. “We’re going to take control of the majority of jewels and stop Ka’atra.”
“-We have to meet at the Ancient forest first though,” Nick interjected.
“-Right, a girl told me to meet her there.”
“Oh when was this?”
Johna looked at them as if this were normal conversation.
“Well, it was in a dream actually…”
“Oh,” he responded. “Ok.”
Now they held onto the wind. If they could get one more, they’d be able to hold control of the majority of the power and shift the realm back to the council’s control.
Ka’atra and they would be competing for the fire jewel.
The pointer pointed towards the ocean.
“Is it pointing into the ocean?”
“Yes and no…” Narice responded. He knew where this was. The cast-off island secretly hidden by Ancient magic long ago.
A hidden secret. A forest shrouded in mist guarded by a series of obstacles…
“Magic… won’t necessarily be enough…” he said as he pulled out his sword.
The others looked at him with a little bit of hesitation.
They were back on the ship they’d docked into the city with. It seems it had been ported when they’d gotten picked up.
They’d already started up with the sailing and were moving towards the island the pointer pointed at.
The others seemed to be getting along. Johna played around with some magic spells using the air jewel, supposedly for ‘training’. However, it looked more like he was just juggling stuff without touching it.
The others were in awe watching the sideshow.
The boat was going at a good pace and was relatively uneventful. Birds passed by them in the air every once in a while. Nick was the most seasick of the crew as he began to feel wheezy after a little while on the water.
Nick ended up taking refuge inside of the cabin followed by Johna trying to help him with a quick fix spell tat temporarily reduced feeing in the body.
It ended up not only reducing his feeling but turning his legs into a sort of wobbly mess.
After things died down a bit Johna seemed a curious sort of quiet as he looked into the waters. Like a long forgotten memory seized him, he ended up looking into the water for a while.
The quietude was a relief compared to the bustling of the giant wizard city. Narice too began to reflect on his schooldays and such.
A couple hours more passed. Soon enough the day turned to sunset as the sun hit the horizon and slowly set on the small boat.
They ended up anchoring down and the group had a meal and fell asleep.
In the first day, they worked down a portion of the rations that Johna had readied. a grand meal for dinner followed by sleeping in hammocks.
In the second the morning began early as the chilling breeze awoke Narice and the others.
They happily got started as Narice felt a sort of energy seize him, In order to entertain Nick Johna helped keep him occupied with different games.
Narice looked into the horizon for any sort of life even though he knew the island they were looking for would be another day away. However it seemed it would be a while before they reached any such thing.
“Land!” Johna said.
In the distance Narice saw what Johna pointed at.
It had been a few hours of sailing since they’d gotten up and got ready.
They were all excited to see something instead of the blue ocean.
Narice looked around at the crew, the sickly Nick and the others seemed excited about and then came to the conclusion, “Let’s stop here… ”
It wasn’t the island they were specifically going for, but it would be good to take a breather for once based on Nick’s seasickness.
Narice followed off the boat as Romani and Johna helped Nick off the boat.
Upon hitting land Nick finally was able to stabilize himself.
Looking around them, the island looked like a paradise in fact. Perhaps it was a sort of cruise resort or something as beach palms covered the edges.
“It seems they’re off on the coast of an island,” Vega mused watching the course of the boat through the spell placed. From the sky city Vega had put a tracker spell onto the ship before they’d left in the morning.
It wouldn’t be hard to catch up from here. In fact… Vega planned to approach and face him right at the island.